Pittsburgh native, Pitt alum and billionaire investor Mark Cuban has said that he wants to save Oakland’s Original Hot Dog Shop, a legendary Pitt campus eatery that closed its doors back in April.
Now, PETA is asking that Cuban change the long-time staple’s ways while he’s at it. In a letter to Cuban, PETA suggested that the investor turn the restaurant’s signature commodity into veggie dogs.
“Delicious veggie dogs could be the ticket to success for Mark Cuban’s latest venture,” PETA senior vice president Lisa Lange said in a press release. “PETA is urging Cuban to jump on this opportunity to revive a Pittsburgh institution in a way that protects animals, the environment, and the health of the city’s residents.”
The Original Hot Dog Shop’s signature item had been an all-beef hot dog since its inception, one of its longtime workers told Pittsburgh Sports Now in April. But even those among The O’s most ardent fans had witness a change in the eating habits of college students in recent years.
“I was down there a couple of years ago, I was sitting with [Co-owner] Bruce [Simon] and we were talking, and it was lunchtime, and my family was there and I was there and there was only one person at the counter,” Dr. Edward Dongell, a former Original Hot Dog Shop employee, told PSN. “I just couldn’t believe it. Bruce said, ‘Well, they opened a bunch of vegetarian places and people don’t eat hot dogs like they did back in the day, back in the 70s and 80s and 90s.’”
Cuban already has experience with vegetarian and vegan food, as he became an investor in Unreal Deli, a company that specializes in vegetarian deli meats, while serving as an investor on the ABC show Shark Tank.
Cuban said negotiations to acquire the property, which is currently listed for lease, have been difficult.
“I’m trying,” he said. “They’re making it hard. They closed. They’re over-negotiating. So we’ll see what happens.”